Family 411: Stop bullying
CINCINNATI (Sheila Gray) - The CDC says one in five kids has been bullied at school in the past 12 months.
Nearly that many report bullying online. Some high school kids say the only way to fight bullying and win is by starting a conversation. Talking about bullying isn't easy for St. Henry High School seniors Felicity Seibt and Noah Cullen.
"It was just a lot from a lot of different people. It ranged from insults to go kill yourself," said Felicity.
Noah added, "I was always the kid that wanted to be in the cool kid group. I changed so much to fit it."
Their recent high school play brought out a lot of feelings for them.
"It takes a lot of guts to go on stage and be vulnerable and put yourself out there in very serious moments," said their drama teacher and the play's director Emily Himonidis.
The play is The Bullying Collection, real life stories from several playwrights. The young actors have their own real life stories.
"I watched her sit in her bedroom and cry for hours. It is one of the most heartbreaking things you can go through," said Felicity.
It's why the group of drama students told their teacher, they NEEDED to do it.
"Because it spoke to us in more than one way," said Noah.
Some scenes are funny. Others are all too real. There's a monologue in the play which refers to kids caught in the middle of a school shooting, "We were all silent, waiting for footsteps and more pops."
One student actor told Local 12 she has sat in class and planned how to escape. They all admitted being guilty of standing by and doing nothing to stop bullying. The play has taught them they need to take a more active approach.
"It happens in a lot of places, and it can be stopped," said senior Matt Schutte.
The issue hits home for their teacher too. She was surprised when some of the students told her they'd experienced the trauma of bullying themselves. "It just really shocked me. Some kids put up a really good front. The kid that you think wow, they really have it all together. Sometimes that kid is hurting the most."
Even after the play's performances were over, the kids are wearing bracelets with its message, hoping to take it beyond the stage.
"To start a conversation is the point of this play, to give a voice. That's why we were on the stage. What I got from this play is that every action you make, every word you speak has an effect on someone," said Matt.
The teens say they'll carry on the message in their own actions. They hope for the victims, it won't come too late.
"I do think that every school needs to start a conversation, whether through fine arts or through counselors," said Emily.
CLICK HERE for a link to The Bullying Collection.